Les Prés since le Signal
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Les Prés since le Signal
Les Contamines Montjoie

Les Prés since le Signal

Fauna
Pastoralism
Medium
5h
12km
+698m
-698m
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9 points of interest
Flora

TheRusty-leaved Alpenrose

Its name refers to the rusty color of the underside of its leaves! This plant belongs to the Ericaceae family which includes Blueberries and Heathers. It flowers from the end of June and attracts many pollinating insects.

It is fond of cool areas: it grows more easily on the ubac - the northern slope – receiving little sunshine. This preference can be explained by the fact that it does not lose its leaves during the winter, so, in order not to freeze, it needs a good snow cover!
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Fauna

Handsome as Apollo

This butterfly is a rhopalocera, which means a diurnal butterfly. It is found in the mountains, in open areas with specific vegetation, its caterpillar having a preference for stonecrops or houseleeks, while adults are fond of thistles’ and other knapweeds’ nectar. It is beautiful... like a Greek god, however, just watch it, because it is an endangered species, protected on international and French level !
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Panorama

Panorama on the Mont-Blanc massif

From here you can admire Mont-Blanc, the highest peak in Europe (4810 m) and the massif it dominates!
Admire the view of these other peaks: Aiguille de Bionassay (4052 m), Dômes de Miage (3633 m) or Aiguille Nord de Tré la Tête (3892 m), the highest peak of the nature reserve. From this position, you can observe the different natural environments protected by the reserve situated in an area with over 2800 m of altitude variation, starting at the forest level.
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Fauna

The Northern Wheatear

Have you seen Zorro with his black blindfold?!

This is the male of the Northern Wheatear, a sparrow-sized passerine bird. Nevertheless, this 25g featherweight is a long-distance migratory bird. Indeed, if it comes to nest in the mountains during the summer season, in search of insects such as flies, crickets and other grasshoppers, which abound in the alpine grasslands, it spends the winter much further south, in the savannas of tropical Africa, from Mauritania to Tanzania!
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Fauna

The Black Grouse

An icon of mountain fauna and a shy bird, it was called after the shape of its tail feathers, which are curved like a lyre!
The male, or rooster, with its blue-black plumage and its red wattles above the eye, which are fleshy appendages, can’t be confused with any other bird.
The hen, which raises the broods on its own, has a less colorful and reddish-brown plumage, providing good camouflage and protection from predators. Homochromy is the word used for this protective coloring in animals that makes an individual visually become part of the landscape.
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Refuge

The mountain refuge of la Balme

Located at the foot of ‘Aiguilles de la Pennaz’ (2668 m) on the ‘Tour du Mont-Blanc’ trail, this refuge has been managed by 3 generations of the same family to welcome hikers. This old farm is surrounded by mountain pastures, still managed by mountain farmers.

Estimate the height of the roof and imagine that during the winter only the chimney isn’t covered by the snowpack!

This refuge is open from June to September.
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Cow mountain

How to recognize the breeds of mountain cows grazing together in these pastures?

The breed called "Abondance" was born in the village of the same name in the Chablais area in Haute-Savoie. It can be recognized by its mahogany-colored coat and belly and its white head.

The "d'Herens" breed is coming from the Valais region in Switzerland. More stocky, it has a plain coat, often black, sometimes dark red or chestnut. Its lively and belligerent behavior is used during the traditional "Fight of the queens" in the 3 areas around Mont-Blanc. But don’t panic, these games are harmless for the competing animals!
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The mountain pasture

Mountain pastures are landscapes shaped by human activities since prehistory, during the neolithic era, when first started livestock farming.
Without the grazing of domestic animals at this altitude, this environment would be composed by few species of bushes and according animal species. The alpine pasture is a rare example of human activity generating biodiversity in both animal and plant species, more abundant than what the natural evolution of the environment would produce. It hosts many species of plants, birds, invertebrates, mammals...
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Fauna

The Ring Ouzel

According to the classification of organisms, this bird belongs to the same genus as the Common Blackbird and is similar in size. It is a mountain species which spend the whole year in the Alps without migrating. It nests in the transition zone between two vegetation belts, the subalpine (forest)zone and the alpine (lawn) zone where the trees, less present, remember of bonsais with their stunted silhouettes.
The Ring Ouzel can be recognized by the white bib on its chest.
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Description

From the car park, take the cable car "la Gorge" to the end station "Signal", the starting point of the hike:
  1. Take the track on your right towards "Chalets de Roselette".
  2. Take the track on the right.
  3. At the bifurcation, take the track on the right, going up to "Les prés".
  4. At "chalet des prés", take the track that goes up on your right.
  5. Continue on the passable track to go down.
Departure : End stop « le Signal »,Les Contamines-Montjoie
Arrival : End station le Signal, les Contamines Montjoie
Towns crossed : Les Contamines Montjoie

Altimetric profile


Recommandations

Always be careful and plan ahead when hiking. Asters, CEN 74 can not be held responsible for the occurrence of an accident or any inconvenience on this itinerary.

Transport

Shuttles from the center of the village of Contamines-Montjoie (from the end of June to the beginning of September).

Access and parking

Go to Contamines-Montjoie (74170).
Cross the village and stay on the Route de Notre Dame de la Gorge (D902) for 1.5 kilometers until you reach the cable cars of "la Gorge".
Park at the large ski lift park on your left.
Take the gondolas to "le Signal".

Parking :

Parking cable car La Gorge

Accessibility


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